In the Guardian yesterday, a piece on the bedroom tax with not a mention of the Scottish Government’s actions to mitigate it fully:
Introduced in 2013, it was the most controversial of the so-called welfare reforms of the coalition era, punishing hundreds of thousands of the poorest social housing tenants – many of them disabled – for having a spare room in their home. It was a minor detail that the “spare rooms” in question were often filled with hospital-style beds or boxes of medicine, or that there were generally no smaller properties for families to move into. Flick through news reports from that time and outraged concern dominates the headlines. “Bedroom tax nightmare is worse than Afghanistan, says war veteran reduced to living on £5 a day,” said the Daily Record in 2013. “Foster carers hit by bedroom tax,” reported ITN in the same year.
I’d call it a kind of political amnesia. Millions of families endure turmoil at the hands of government polices – yet as the years pass, those policies barely get a mention in news reports any more.
Here is the information she needed, easily sourced:
The bedroom tax
From April 2013, the UK Government limited Housing Benefit and the housing element of Universal Credit for working-age council or housing association tenants if they are considered to be under-occupying their homes. This is widely known as the ‘bedroom tax’. It means the amount of rent tenants can claim Housing Benefit for is reduced by:
- 14% for one additional bedroom
- 25% for two or more additional bedrooms
We have fully mitigated the bedroom tax in Scotland through DHPs. If you think you are affected by the bedroom tax but not receiving a DHP you should apply for one from your local authority.
We are working with the UK Government to abolish the bedroom tax at source for recipients of UC. Until then, if you are affected you will need to continue to apply for DHPs.
Discretionary Housing Payments
We became responsible for funding Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) in 2017.
You can receive a DHP to help you meet your housing costs if you are a renter and you are in receipt of either Housing Benefit or an award of Universal Credit which includes an element to help meet your housing costs.
DHPs are administered by local authorities and they must decide on what basis they award DHPs and how much they will pay. However, we fully fund the mitigation of the bedroom tax through DHPs, and so if you are affected by the bedroom tax and apply for a DHP you should receive one.
In 2018 to 2019 we allocated £10.9 million to local authorities to fund non-bedroom tax DHPs, and we expect to spend £50.1m through local authorities to mitigate the bedroom tax.